60 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE
pick at random from a collection of letters of Ming scholars.
Thus wrote Lu Shen to his friend:
To-night we are going to have a full moon. How about
getting a painted houseboat and bringing along a few
musicians? . . . Can you come and spend a night with me
in this early autumn? I am going to have a recluse's gown
made, and when my resignation is accepted, I shall be indeed
a carefree old man of the mountains.
It is this sort of sentiment which, when passing into the current
thoughts and feelings of the Chinese scholar, enables him to
find happiness in his lowly hut.
Human happiness is a frail thing, for the gods are evidently
jealous of it. The problem of happiness is therefore the most
elusive problem of life, but after all is said and done about
culture and progress, it should remain the primary concern of
mankind's highest wisdom to solve it. The Chinese, with their
usual common sense, have bent their highest efforts toward
the finding of this happiness, and like the utilitarians that they
are, have always been more interested in the problem of
happiness than in the problem of progress.
Mrs. Bertrand Russell wisely pointed out that "the right to
be happy55 was, and still is, a forgotten right that nobody in
the West is interested in, Westerners being preoccupied with the
more secondary rights to vote, to pass upon the King's ex-
penditure, to declare war, and to be tried when arrested. The
Chinese have never even thought of the right to be tried when
arrested, but they have always been supremely jealous of their
right to happiness., which neither poverty nor disgrace is
allowed to take away from them. The Western approach to
the problem of happiness is positive, while the Chinese ap-
proach is negative. The question of happiness is always
reduced, in the last analysis, to the question of a man's wants.
The fact is, we are very much in confusion as to what we
really want. For this reason, the story of Diogenes who pro-
claimed to the world that he was a happy man because he did
not want anything, and who threw away his bowl on seeing a
boy drinking from his hands, always provokes some laughter